Psychology of the Bully

I have problems remembering the ending of ayaat especially when they involved Allah’s names and attributes. So I love it when I listen to tafseer sessions that expand on the depth of the usage of Allah’s attributes in the ayaat. Sheikh Omar does this a lot in his tafseer session, and I feel that it helps a lot in hifdh and mutashaabihaat ayaat.

Recently, the kids and I finished listening to Nouman’s tafseer of Surah Al Burooj, and I picked an ayah to further discuss with the kids. I picked this one,

Sahih International

And they resented them not except because they believed in Allah , the Exalted in Might, the Praiseworthy,[Al Burooj:85:8]

Why does Allah choose العَِزِيز and الحَمِيد here?
 This particular passage in this surah is narrating the story of the incident in the story of the Boy and the King. In this particular ayat, the psychology of a bully is also being explained.
The king and his people dug a huge ditch, lit it with fire and forcefully threw the believers in it, and actually enjoyed doing it. This ayah says that the only reason they were committing this heinous crime against the believers was because the believers believed in Allah, the Always Almighty (العَِزِيز) and the Always all praiseworthy(الحَمِيد).
العَِزِيز indicates Allah’s authority and might. These criminals were doing this to the believers, with the state of mind that they were the one in power and authority. The king’s ego and anger is such that he is thinking,
“How dare they believe in something I have not authorized them to believe in?! “
And since he can’t force them to leave this belief, he tortures them in such a way, giving them recanting as a way out. This is the ultimate bully.
But by the usage of العَِزِيز here, Allah is stating that He is the one who has all the power and might and ultimate authority. And the believers know this and that is why they didn’t recant. This drives the bully mad with fury, and it brings out the worst in him.
الحَمِيد indicates that Allah is Praiseworthy even if the disbelievers don’t praise Him. Even if no human praises Allah, Allah is still Praiseworthy, for all other creations praise Him and He is worthy of all praise.
What drives a bully even crazier is when the bullied refuses to leave his personal belief and in fact praises the One he believes in.
Furthermore, we can see that even if the King kills all the believers, it won’t eliminate praises due to Allah, for He is praiseworthy even if all the believers were killed.
In the modern context, even if you burn the Quran, it won’t eliminate it. Even if you degrade the Quran, you can’t degrade its true value. Even if you say outrageous things against Allah, and kill all the Muslims in this world, you can’t stop the praise of Allah.
In the bigger picture, Islam can be victorious without us. Whatever good we do, is truly for our ownselves, not for Islam. We are serving Islam for the sake of our own sorry selves. If we don’t do it, we won’t harm Islam, because its victory is with Allah. If we don’t serve Islam, we are harming our own selves, because we are in need of that act of service to gain Allah’s pleasure and mercy.
[Disclaimer: the above are not tafseer, but are my own reflections that resulted from listening to Ustadh Nouman’s tafseer of Surah Al Burooj]

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